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Europe: 64% of People in Favour of Basic Income, Poll Finds

The first EU-wide opinion survey on basic income finds a great majority of Europeans know about basic income and are supportive of the idea.

While it is no surprise that basic income has gained a lot of popularity over the past few months, it is difficult to grasp exactly how mainstream basic income has begun. That’s where opinion polls can help.

In Europe – where most of the political developments are happening in Finland, the Netherlands, and France – a new poll survey shows the magnitude of the trend – and it’s very encouraging.

According to the preliminary results (pdf here) from a survey carried out in April 2016, about 58% of the people are aware of basic income, and 64% would vote in favour of the policy if there was a referendum about it.

The survey was produced by the Berlin-based company Dalia Research, within the framework of its research programme called e28TM, a European-wide survey, to find out “what Europe thinks.” The e28TM is conducted every 6 months within a sample of 10,000 people, representative of the EU (28 countries) population. The respondents were invited to an online survey via their smartphones, tablets or computer desktops without knowing in advance the topics of the poll. Last April, the survey included basic income.

poll-eubi-support   poll-eubi-familiar

In the questionnaire, basic income was defined as “an income unconditionally paid by the government to every individual regardless of whether they work and irrespective of any other sources of income. It replaces other social security payments and is high enough to cover all basic needs (food, housing, etc.).”

Only 24% of the respondents said they would vote against it, while 12% would not vote. More interestingly, though, the results show a correlation between the level of awareness about basic income and the level of support. In other words, the more people know about the idea, the more they tend to support it:

poll-eubi-corelation

According to the survey, countries where basic income is most popular are Spain and Italy (with 71% and 69% of respondents, respectively, inclined to vote for a basic income).

However, those results are not entirely accurate as they do not show results for smaller countries where the population being interviewed was too small for the results to be statistically significant.

poll-eubi-countries

Respondents were also asked about their biggest hopes and fear if a basic income was to be introduced. It turns out the most convincing arguments in favor of basic income were that it would “reduces anxiety about basic financing needs” (40%) and improve equal opportunity (31%). Perhaps the most surprising result is that the downsizing of bureaucracy and administrative costs was considered the least convincing argument (16%).

Only 4% of the people would stop working.

On the other hand, the most frequent fear or objection was that basic income would encourage people to stop working (43%). However, the survey also provided evidence that this would not in fact be the case — with only 4% of the respondents saying that they would stop working if they had a basic income. Moreover, only 7% said they would reduce their working time, while another 7% said they would look for another job. About 34% of the people surveyed said basic income would “would not affect my work choices” while another 15% said they would spend more time with their family.

poll-eubi-effects

This confirms the result of a previous poll conducted in Switzerland in January that a great majority of people want to work, despite having their basic needs met anyway.

Besides the apparently unfounded concern that people would stop working, other objections considered convincing were that people would massively immigrate (34%), that basic income is not affordable (32%) and that only the needy should receive assistance (32%).

Overall, those results are very positive for basic income. They finally provide evidence that basic income has become mainstream and is likely to be supported by a majority of the population – at least in the EU.

While a number of national polls have already found a good level of support for basic income in France (60%), Catalonia (72%), and Finland (67%), Dalia Research is the first to have produced a European-wide survey on the popularity of basic income.

About Stanislas Jourdan

Stanislas Jourdan has written 43 articles.

Mediactivist.

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8 comments

  • rolteus

    your basic needs should be properly prior to any expectation of working. To simply assume that every person should hold productive employment is ridiculous and backward and totalitarian. the basic needs of all inhabitants of this planet should be met with “basic needs” income. If you take away a persons legal right and ability to live in the wild you need to support that person. we are all in this situation its time for basic needs income for everyone on earth.

  • Manuel Franzmann

    Interesting results. However, isn’t it a contradiction that 64% “of Europeans” support the idea, but only 58% “of Europeans” are familiar with it. This implies that 6% support something they don’t know.

    • Andre Coelho

      No, it just means that 6% of Europeans just fell in love with the idea at first sight. It’s just a slight change in perspective.

      Best,

      André

  • Francisco Gabriel

    A ver si la idea prospera y se hace realidad pronto.

  • People are going to debate about whether or not to have a basic income until we will all decide to just throw away money altogether. Then after we throw away our counting systems we will not be able to track how many people there are on the planet. We will have over population. There should be an X amount of money per person regardless if you work or not. Think of it as two extremes. Which one works? No money no accounting or Everyone having money and everyone is accounted. Bankers and statisticians and Governments can have fun modeling their world at the same time everyone else doing their thing.

    Right now only those that are alive want to live and work. But, if you get laid off due to factories or technology being too damn efficient then your DEAD from homelessness or OIL wars or whatever.

    So, bottom line is use computers to now track everyone one for an income. In the 1980’s is when spread sheets where invented, called Visi-Calc. The Bankers of the World did not have this when the Federal Reserve was founded. They had to do it all by paper and hand. But, now computers can now make it possible to give everyone a utopia dream. Then the Internet was popularized by Microsoft Windows and the Personal Computers. Unix was popularize by Linux. Windows runs the Clients and Linux runs the web servers.

    EBT + SSN = Basic Income.

    It will be the end of paper money. Paper is too easy to counterfeit wage wars sell drugs and everything illegal.

  • Yogi Andersson

    Is there a chance that anyone knows if this poll gave information about how many percent of the respondents that would vote in favour of basic income in other countries than the ones shown up above?

    I am especially interested if there is a result from the Swedish respondents, the country in which I live?

  • Yogi Andersson

    Thanks a lot for the more up-to-date survey!

    One can always question surveys or polls as how accurate they are?
    In the poll conducted by Dalia Research in april 2016 Spanish respondents came on top with 71 % who would vote in favour of basic income if there woud be a referendum, but according to the survey conducted by the Ipsos Group only 31 % of the Spanish respondents are pro-basic income?

    That 43 % of Swedes would be pro-basic income and only 45 % believes that basic income will discourage people from wage-work goes completely against my own empirical experience.

    And although I’m mostly no longer scorned upon when I’m talking about basic income among my fellow Swedes (as often was the case 7 years ago when I started my attempt to ”sow the seeds” of basic income) I deem these figures to be slightly questionable.

    And the struggle for more equality and less economic suffering continues …

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